Butter My Biscuit!

biscuit

I adore a good biscuit. I admit that I grew up on Bisquick biscuits. And if offered a free-form drop biscuit from this ubiquitous brand, I probably would not turn it down. With a bit of melted butter, it still brings back fond memories of my childhood home and when my girls were young. More…

I adore a good biscuit. I admit that I grew up on Bisquick biscuits. And if offered a free-form drop biscuit from this ubiquitous brand, I probably would not turn it down. With a bit of melted butter, it still brings back fond memories of my childhood home and when my girls were young.

Through the years, I have had my share of biscuits from that pop-n-fresh refrigerator roll as well. I can remember peeling the flaky layers apart to slip a pat of butter in and wait for it to melt. I also remember the salty butter dripping out the side and down my hand; licking every bit I could find.

For probably a good ten years, when I went out for breakfast, I would always get a side of sausage well-done and a side biscuit. It is always something you can depend on being on the menu–no matter where you go. For the most part the biscuits were dependably good and the sausage the gamble.

So given that I really had no issue with the box biscuits, roll biscuits, and greasy-spoon biscuits, you might be wondering why I ever decided to try making my own from scratch. I would too if it were me reading this. But it is really quite simple: I make my brownies, my cookies, and most of my other baked goods from scratch, so why not biscuits? At least that is what was tumbling around in my head. As luck would have it, I happened to be thumbing through a Food & Wine magazine when I came across a recipe by Bobby Flay for Black Pepper Biscuits with Bourbon-Molasses Butter that peaked my interest.

I just happened to have everything I need to make these lofty delights with the exception of the buttermilk. I made sure to put that I my grocery list. I did not realize that the simple task of writing out buttermilk was about to change my live. Over dramatic, you say? I think not! A few days passed, I purchased the buttermilk, and set about making molasses butter and ultimately the black pepper biscuits.

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Biscuits require very few ingredients, flour, leavening, fat, and liquid in its basic form and with very few additions, they can be elevated quite easily. And the process of making the biscuits is rather easy as well. But the part that sealed the deal, was watching the biscuits rise in the oven. It was a beautiful thing. The whole process maybe took five minutes more to make than semi-homemade versions from the store, but the taste was a million times better. So why didn’t I know this already? Why have I been wasting my time on any think else? I guess no one ever told me. So now I am telling you and you have no excuses. And no need to send me a thank-you card, the fact that you will be enjoying your very own high-rise buttermilk biscuits is thanks enough!

My a sage and red pepper biscuit version

My sage and red pepper biscuit version

The original recipe for these biscuits is darn near perfection, but more for a grown-up palette. I have kids and also like to use biscuits for a variety of purposes–from warm out of the oven with butter at breakfast and rustic sandwiches at lunch to soup dippers at supper and the base of a decedent biscuits and gravy at brunch, so I made a few modifications; mostly to make a biscuit with more universal appeal and to take advantage of what I normally have growing in my garden. Thus a sage and red pepper biscuit version was born; and titled exactly how I feel about these biscuits.

Best Damn Biscuits EVER!
(very extremely closely inspired by Bobby Flay’s Black Pepper Biscuits in Food & Wine magazine)

INGREDIENTS
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp freshly minced Sage Leaves
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
14 Tbsp Butter, cubed & cold
2 cups Buttermilk, cold

Extra Buttermilk for brushing

 MISE EN PLACE

  1. Measure out ingredients.
  2. Cube and chill butter.

STEP ONE
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

STEP TWO
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, sage, red pepper, and baking soda. Scatter butter cubes over dry ingredients. Using your fingers, pinch butter in to flour mixture until everything comes together in a pea-sized crumb. Stir in buttermilk and stir until just formed.

STEP THREE
Turn the dough out onto work surface and gently fold the dough over itself 2 or 3 times. Pat the dough down to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits using a knife or biscuit cutters.

STEP FOUR
Arrange on cookie sheet, brush with extra buttermilk and cook until golden brown; approximately 20 minutes.

COOK’S NOTES:
If using biscuit cutters, be sure not to twist when cutting. Twisting limits the rise.

Sometime in the near future, I plan to post the results of a biscuit experiment I have started. It may be a few weeks though as I need a crew to give me there unbiased opinions on biscuits: fresh versus frozen and frozen raw versus frozen pre-cooked. I have all the frozen ones in the icebox and have already baked off some of the frozen raw ones, but have not done any comparison to the others. Should be a yummie experiment!

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